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Denver Activists Push for Income-Based Bus Fares

(AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

Denver bus riders will see a fare increase come January, but advocates for accessible public transit are working to maintain affordability for low-income riders.

Bus fare will go from $2.25 to $2.60 each way. Regular commuters will be charged $99 for a monthly pass, which the Colorado Independent reports is out of reach for many.

Nonprofit advocacy groups, such as 9to5 Colorado, are pushing the Regional Transportation District to extend the pricing for students and seniors to families eligible for public assistance. That’s $1.30 for local one-way fares and $49 for a monthly pass.

According to the Independent, 68 percent of low-income riders don’t receive discounted passes. 9to5 previously released a report highlighting that high fares hinder accessible public transportation and Denver’s need for income-based transit passes, using Seattle as a point of reference. Seattle gives a 50 percent discount to transit riders who are within 200 percent of the poverty level. In Denver, activists suggest that RTD could give a 50 percent discount to participants who qualify for welfare.

RTD’s cutting back on bus routes to make way for light rail too, and because there will be some gaps between the closing of bus routes and implementation of light rail, advocates are also worried about cutting off already underserved communities.

Marielle Mondon is an editor and freelance journalist in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia City Paper, Wild Magazine, and PolicyMic. She previously reported on communities in Northern Manhattan while earning an M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.

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Tags: public transportationlight railbusesdenver